Did P. Sushila meet PBS only in 1961 as Times of India has it

Posted: April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

In today’s ‘Times of India’ as part of the obit story on P.B. Sreenivos (that’s how he spelt his name), the noted female playback singer P. Sushila is quoted as saying that She knew  PBS from 1961 when music director M.S. Viswanathan ‘introduced’ them. (She is not saying that MSV introduced them  in the sense that he gave them their first opportunity, she means that she introduced them to each other!).

If that were so how was PBS singing along with P.Sushila in 1959 in the song ‘Azhage Amuthe’ (in the music direction of Viswanathan Ramamurthy in the film Raja Malayasimman)? How was it that he sang ‘Anbu Manam Kanindha Pinne’ with P.Sushila again in the film ‘Alukkoru Veedu’ in 1960, again under the baton of the VR duo? 

And how was it that the same Sushila was singing with PBS under G. Ramanathan’s baton in the extremely popular ‘Veerapandiya Kattabommon’, the beautiful song, ‘Inbam Pongum Vennila’,  some two years before the so-called first meeting in 1961 under MSV aegis?

So the fact is that it was not in 1961 that P.Sushila met PBS. 

By 1961, both Sreenivos and Sushila had been in the field of playback singing and plonk in the studios of Kodambakkam and they should have got a whiff of each other earlier! 


  1. Nava.C.Kumar says:

    Dear Mr.Vamanan
    Quite accidentally I bumped into the following link:


    The second song is of course a famous Telugu song of A.M.Rajah.The other 3 songs are also said to be his songs from a private label.Is it really A.M.Rajah?There is resemblance, but not exactly the Rajah we are familiar with.Are their any other songs like these from private labels?

  2. R. Mahendra Raj says:

    Hi Mr. Vamanan, Hope you are in the pink of health. Would like to draw your attention as well as to seek clarification on two matters. The first being – When did Muthuraman die? According to online sources including Wikepedia the year is stated as 1982. I am very sure he died around the same time Kaviarasu Kannadhasan ( 17.10.1981) breathed his last, that is between 16 and 18 October 1981. I remember reading that it was Kamalhassan who was shooting a different film was the first to go to Muthuraman’s aid when the latter collapsed whilst jogging in Ooty. His last film ‘Pokkiri Raja’ had a dubbed voice because of his untimely death. But of recent times there have been conflicting reports on the death date.

    Even Kaarthik recently mentioned that his father was not alive when his maiden film ‘Alaigal Oivathillai’ was released. But this same Kaarthik said in a media interview years back that he was glad that his father saw his debut movie just before his untimely death. The latter is factual because it was released in July 1981.

    The second question – was ‘Alaigal Oivathillai’ Kaarthik’s first film at all? I remember seeing him in an adolescent role (probably as the younger Muthuraman) in ‘Achaani’ (1977) starred by his late father. He looked every bit like in ‘Alaigal Oivathillai’ except that it was in black & white.

    Awaiting your clarifications earnestly. Thanks

  3. R. Mahendra Raj says:

    Thanks a lot Nava C. Kumar and Mr. Vamanan! Re – the artistes appearing on-screen for the song ‘Radha Madhava’ – any idea? Being a Banthulu film I presume the male artiste looks like Kannada star Udhaya Kumar. But, I may be wrong in my assumption. The female actress just cannot be guessed at all. Hope you can shed some light on this.

    Mr. Vamanan, I think you did your best in all of works on the history of all things Tamil cinema. Was just wondering whether you could come out with a book solely dealing with the ‘firsts’ of various projects like the above matter. That is, like the first duet of TMS and PS; the first duet of TMS and PBS; the first multi-playback singers in a song (like Karnan, Pazhani etc.); the first MGR and SSR starrer ; the first movie to have more than one music directors or even more than one director: the first movie to have an all female or male only singers (Karpagam) – the list is endless.
    The subject can also touch on technical crew members like cameramen (A. Vincent and Ragunathan together). The core subject should be the ‘first ever’ in Tamil cinema. There is no denying that you did cover many such novelties in your books. But they were mentiomed in passing. Hence, a separate book will be warmly welcomed and appreciated by film buffs as well as historians. I understand fully that it is no easy job and requires a great amount of patience in retrieving such imformation from various sources. But at the same time I will not hesitate to publicly state only meticulous personalities like you can undertake such painstaking and time-consuming tasks. Your previous works bear testimony.

  4. Nava.C.Kumar says:

    I think that the first time T.M.S combined with P.Susheela in the films “Pennin Perumai” and ” Kuladeivam” for the songs Azhuvatha Illai Sirippatha” and ” Kottu Potta Sinna Machane”in 1955.for the music of A.Rama Rao and R..Sudharsanam’s respectively.I don’t know which was first.

    • vamanan81 says:

      Pennin Perumai does seem to have the first TMS-PS song in the public domain. But ‘Chellaipillai’ was in the making at AVM Studio when TMS got his first breaks in Madras through the goodwill of A.V.Meiyyappa Chettiar. He first sang with P.Sushila in Chellaipillai — ‘Aaraaro’. Sushila was working as a playback artiste in AVM then. So it’s likely that Chellapillai preceded ‘Azhuvadha Illai Sirippadhaa’. But I have not heard the song…I wonder if it’s in the film.. The print available now, however, is heavily cut. The credit for composing the songs of Pennin Perumai, was made jointly to BNR and A.Rama Rao and Background music was credited to Master Venu.

  5. R. Mahendra Raj says:

    Hi Mr, Vamanan, I hope you can enlighten me on this nagging questions ion – what was the first duet song of TMS and PS? If I am not mistaken it is the song ‘Radha Madhava Vimitha’ from the film ‘Engal Kudumbam Perisu’ (1958) but a cursory search in all of your books drew a blank. And by the way, who are the artistes appearing on screen for this song? They don’t look familiar at all.

  6. R. Mahendra Raj says:

    Hi Chris, under which designations the names of the duo are credited? Or if you can name the films I may try and recollect it. As for SP Ramanathan there used to be one C Grade artiste who has acted in films like ‘Kan Thiranthathu’ (1960) etc. He was the estranged husband of Manorama. Or, were the duo artistes at all or members of production units?

  7. R. Mahendra Raj says:

    Yes, Chris, you are absolutely right. Don’t you think it is high time the Tamil Nadu Government reckons the Tamil film industry as a revenue earner just like other industries? By giving such a recognition the archives could be organized officially by a government-sponsored public agency and the public should have access to it. As you rightly said we have to rely on historians like Mr. Vamanan to source for such information. Many Youtube uploaders say that usually the name of the lyricist is not mentioned which is why it is not mentioned. This is also true. My personal opinion is that attention is given to the songs’ music composition and the singers but less of its lyricists. Even in film publicity posters this has always been the case since time immemorial, save for the occasional rare cases.

    • Chris says:

      You are on to it. Even if the TN govt is slow in recognising the Film Industry, senior industry people and Nadigar Sangam can take the lead in archiving, welfare of yesteryear actors etc. I appreciate the lone efforts of K Balachander for giving chance to old actors like SP Subbiah and MN Rajam and singers like Trichy Loganathan in his film Arangetram (many years ago now) and Kamal Haasan for going to the aid of Nagesh, Ilayarajah using Janunarani, PBS etc are to be appreciated.

      On a similar note, can I ask this? Over many years I have noted a few names in films credits appearing repeatedly over a long period time, two such I recall SP Ramanathan, JJ Manickam. Who are these people? If you search the net nothing comes up.

  8. Chris says:

    It is a pity that when more than one lyric writers have penned songs for a movie, the titles, in most cases, do not specify which songs are penned by which of the lyric writers. Unless a song belong to Bharathiyarr or Bharathidaasan, one has to rely on ‘someone in the know’. There is no way such information can be verified unless a writer likes you verifies the facts with people connected with the film and records them for future reference. With the intervening years opportunity for such verification diminishes. It is also a pity that uploaders into youtube etc do not give due credit to artists or give wrong information.

  9. R. Mahendra Raj says:

    Thanks a lot Mr. Vamanan for your prompt reply. The equation of Kannadhasan with Vaalee has resurfaced quite unwittingly in recent times immediately after the untimely death of the latter. Practically in all those weekly and monthly magazines, including the Tamil dailies, from Tamil Nadu have to mention Kannadhasan’s name in equation when writing eulogies for Vaalee. Ironical for a man who lived longer than Kannadhasan and wrote more than him. My personal view is that Kannadhasan doesn’t usually refer to his own works, like his cinema songs when speaking or writing. Whereas Vaalee was fond of that plus his regular recollection of past events. My view was almost the same by a weekly from Tamil Nadu,last week (can’t remember which mag as I buy nearly all of it religiously for the last 4 decades) in its question and answer section. When Kannadhasan died on 17,10.1981 India Today (English) carried a one-page article story of him. Sadly, it was not so for Vaalee. Apart from The Hindu Chennai edition no other English medium published a fitting tribute for him.

    I am sure you must have read Cho’s serialized article in last week’s edition of Kumudham on Vaalee where he referred to a particular series written by the latter in Thuglak somewhere last year, to wit, his controversial story on MGR where he (Cho) had to delete it. I can make an educated guess on this whole episode. What is your take, Mr. Vamanan, on this? Being an historian I am sure you have some privileged info on this.

    By the way, I have in my possession your valuable book which makes interesting reading and references. I emailed to you expressing my appreciation for this arduous task of compiling the archives concerned and also made a proposition to you. Perhaps that particular email was overlooked by you. If you so desire I will trace the original email and have it re-sent to you. If that be the case please let me have your email address.

    By the way, I. even caught a glimpse of you on You Tube speaking on Kannadhasan but unfortunately the audio was subdued.

  10. R. Mahendra Raj says:


    It is true that these celebrities are not serious about the sequence of events especially the years. It is even more sickening when they give conflicting versions of facts or incidences at diffrent periods involving themselves in media interviews. Journalists who do interviews with them should keep track of earlier statements given by the celebrities concerned and counter them accordingly.

    Bye the way, I hope you will not mind me asking you two questions as I am confident that you are the right authority by virtue of your status as the historian of Tamil movies. Who wrote the song ‘Nan Pottal Theriyum Podu” (by TMS in ‘Enga Paapa’ 1966) and; who wrote ‘Paal Thamizh Paal’ (Rahasya Police 115-1968)? I am very confident that the former was by Kaviarasar Kannadhasan and the latter by Vaalee. But recently someone in the know informed that Vaalee, had in an interview, clarified that he wrote the ‘Naan Pottaa, Theriyum Podu’ song. The same source also said that ‘Paal Thamizh Paal’ was written by Kannadhasan but I am sure it was by Vaalee. In the title credits of ‘Enga Paapa’ Kannadhasan’s name alone appears (even without his erstwhile assistant Panchu Arunasalam’s name being mentioned) which is quite obvious. In ‘Rahasya Police 115’ both Kannadhasan and Vaalee’s names appear in the title credits. Incidentally both the films are by BR Banthulu under the Padmini Pictures banner. Your early clarification is earnestly sought on these two doubts, thanks.

    • vamanan81 says:

      Mr. Mahendra Raj..My ‘confidence’ is the same as yours. The ‘someone in the know’ seems to be queering the pitch of facts repeatedly. I would take even Vali’s direct words with a pinch of salt. But ‘Vali said so to somebody else who reported to somebody else’ is straining one’s credulity too much. Meanwhile, the common man attributes every old song he likes to Kannadasan, because Kannadasan is the archetypal lyricist for him.

  11. Chris says:

    I would add SV Venakraman and SM Subbiah Naidu to that list. Even AM Raja can be added to that list, though he struck to certain comfort zones? To be fair Chalapathirao, Rajeswara Rao & TG Lingappa were more active in the Telugu scene than Tamil.

  12. Nava C.kumar says:

    It is surprising that Tamil film music simply revolved around G.Ramanathan, K.V.Mahadevan and the VR duo.Of course , unassuming R.Sudharsanam was the mainstay of the AVM productions which always gave us good music.There were many talented composers like the stalwarts C.N.Pandurangan, Rajeswara Rao , Pendiyala, Chalapathi Rao,T.G.Lingappa etc who did’nt stay long despite their outstanding contributions.The failure seems to be that they could not fit in to the new culture of clickishness. A.Bhimsingh and T.R.Ramanna with VR duo, Chinnappa Devar and A.P.Nagarajan with K.V.Mahadevan. set the standards for total domination of these composers in the 60s.

    • vamanan says:

      Indeed, indeed. Cinema isn’t a world of make-believe for nothing. Some successful cinema people can be even more make-believe than cinema!

  13. Nava C.kumar says:

    Dear Mr.Vamanan
    Thank you again.
    Who composed the song “Koovamal koovum kokilam” sung by Trichy Loganathan and M.L.Vasanthakumari from the film vairamalai ? Some say it was G.Ramanathan, but others say it is tthe Viswanathan Ramamoorthy Duo.

    • vamanan81 says:

      The music for Vairamalai was by Viswanathan Ramamurthy.

      • Chris says:

        Likewise I used to think that the MD of Deivathin Deivam was KVM, but it appears it was GR. Another doubt, someone had written in the net that GR did not have any training in Carnatic music. I find it difficult to believe. Can you clear these two doubts please?

      • vamanan81 says:

        Indeed GR was the Music director of Deivathin Deivam. GR did have training in Carnatic music. He did not have a great knowledge of theory, like he hand’t read Sambamurthy’s series of books on Carnatic music! but he knew the ropes and being a born genius and being endowed with endless creativity, he made his tunes sing his emotions.

  14. vamanan81 says:

    Indeed, have done the groundwork for a book on KVM. What you say is true. MSV is overpraised, but it doesn’t seem out of proportion when you compare it with the sort of praise Ilayraja and Rahman receive.

  15. Nava C.kumar says:

    I see that it is often quoted that the Viswanathan Ramamoorthy Duo composed music for more than 700 films from 1952(Panam) to 1965(ayiraththil Oruvan) before their beak up..Can this be true?

    • vamanan81 says:

      The number of films that VR composed music for is about 90 as I have shown in my book, Mellisai Mannargal Pattu Payanam (25361039)

      • Chris says:

        I hope you will write a book about KVM. It irks me when people overpraise MSV and forget TKR and KVM. The reason I think the latter two are introverts. And MSV being an extrovert had the friendship of Kannadasan and CV Sridhar? To me the greatest Tamil film composer was G Ramanathan and his “vaarisu” KV Mahadevan. VR carried the baton from CR Subbaraman another great composer. I also think VR never did anythink like a Sankarabaranam, Thiruvilaiyaadal, Thirumaal Perumai, Saraswathi Sabatham and like AP Nagarajan movies. To be fair KVM never did a Karnan type songs.

  16. Chris says:

    I would excuse PS but would fault the Times of India correspondent or (Arts) Editor for the slip.
    I had not realised PBS is no more. One of my friends says that PBS is the only singer who has not sung any rubbish songs ..

    • vamanan says:

      Generally, journalists are taught to be wary of superlatives and statements like ‘he was the first or sang the most or was the last…etc. Additionally, while giving a ear to very senior people, one should surely take dates with some caution. Yeah, composers don’t think of stately voices when they have mischief and garbage on their minds!

  17. P. Susheela’s memory could be at fault?